Work and Life Balance

August 23, 2013

Ingrid Kellaghan, founder of Cambridge Nanny Group, discusses balancing parenthood and work, particularly during life’s busy seasons.

So many parents are living in burnout mode.  They’re exhausted critters, just like the gerbil on the wheel, running from place to place, from priority to priority, and by the time they land at home they’re little reserve left to give families.

As the universe would have it, the start of the school year often coincides with work peaks across most industry sectors, including my work running Cambridge Nanny Group.   Longer hours are required.   Overnight travel becomes a necessity.    I’ve learned to put boundaries in place so when I walk the tight rope between work and family, I don’t lose my balance.  Most importantly, it provides me a reserve of emotional and physical resources so I give my family what it needs during the times my career demands more of my attention.

First, I make quitting time an absolute starting time.   You wouldn’t show up for work an hour or two late every day; don’t show up for home “late” either.

Second, I leave my work at work.  If I must take my work home I resolve to do it only after the last child is in bed and my husband is occupied with something else. I’ve had at least eight or nine hours at the office already; my family deserves my full attention at least half that time.

Third, there are times when I have to be on the road but there are ways to stay connected to my kid’s hearts:

  • Call after school to see how their day went.  (And no, texting won’t do.  Children need to hear your voice.   Even if your children or very young and can’t speak yet make that daily voice connection.
  • Leave special notes, one for each day you’ll be gone.
  • Keep bedtime routine intact, saying prayers or singing cherished songs together by phone.
  • Record a reading of a favorite book so your child can listen to you  “read on tope” before bedtime or during story time.
  • Before you leave, agree on a special “reunion” activity…and stick to it like glue, no matter what work is waiting back in the office.

None of these are the same as being there in person, of course, but they show your love- and make the reunion at home that much sweeter.

Every Blessing,

Ingrid Kellaghan

Founder Cambridge Nanny Group 

Tips for Negotiating Nanny Salary

August 21, 2013

One of the trickiest parts of landing any nanny job can be negotiating the salary. While some employers or agencies might include salary (even if it’s just a range) in the job listing, others might withhold that information until a later stage of the interview process. They’re not doing this to be secretive or suspicious, though; most likely it’s because they don’t want to deal with discussing numbers until they’re relatively sure they’ve found a good candidate for the job.

When the time comes, you’ll need to be able to negotiate a good salary. You’ll want something that pays you well, but also something that’s fair to the employer. It needs to be rooted in reality, but also have room to expand over time. Here are some tips to keep in mind:handshake

Do Your Homework

The first place to start is by doing a little research on nanny salaries in your area. If this isn’t your first nanny job, you’ll at least have an idea of what nannies can make in the region, but no matter how much experience you have, it’s wise to see what other numbers are out there. Talk with other childcare professionals in your city (Facebook and Twitter can be helpful for finding local friends), and reach out to nanny agencies and review industry reports like the INA Nanny Salary and Benefits Survey to see what possible salary offers you can expect. You can also check other job listings to see if they include salary. These numbers are designed to give you a broad but reliable range of possible compensation targets, so you can keep yourself from going too high or too low.

Know How to State Your Case

A big part of salary talks is, simply, selling yourself. You need to be able to prove to a potential employer that you’re worth the price you’re asking. Take into account your experience, education and skill set when determining your earning potential. Tossing out a high number and just hoping for the best can look like you’re trying to take advantage of the employer or like you haven’t put any thought into the matter. But compensation is a vital part of the process, and it requires a lot of thought. Before the interview, make a list of your best qualities and highest priorities. Think about what you can offer, what you’ve achieved and where you’d like to be in one, five and 10 years. By arguing your merits, you can present yourself as an investment, not an expense.

Plan for Taxes

Your employer will be thinking about payroll taxes, and you should, too. Remember: Your paycheck isn’t a straight amount that you’ll be paid under the table. You should always think about how much you’ll really be making once you take typical nanny taxes into account. Again, this is where experience and research can come in handy. Make sure that the number you have in mind is net, not gross.

Anticipate a Compromise

This is crucial, and it goes back to finding something that’s fair for all parties. When discussing possible salary, you’ll want to start with a number that’s higher than what you reasonably anticipate making, with the understanding that the employer will counter with a number that’s lower than what they’re really willing to pay. This can be frustrating, but it’s just part of the way pay negotiations work. Remember, though, the employer will likely come up. You just have to be willing to go lower. Visualize your first number and final number with steps in between them, and be willing to take your requests down a notch each time. If you wind up with a higher salary than you’d imagined, great! If you wind up at your minimum required amount, that’s fine, too. Be clear and honest during these negotiations, though. If you hit your floor (the lowest you can accept) and the employer still balks, you might have to pass on the offer. Your satisfaction is just as important as theirs. If you’re both direct and plain about mutual needs, though, everyone should walk away happy.

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